Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jun 28;119(26):e2118283119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2118283119. Epub 2022 Jun 23.
Over half the world’s population is at risk for viruses transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, such as dengue and Zika. The primary vector, Aedes aegypti, thrives in urban environments. Despite decades of effort, cases and geographic range of Aedes-borne viruses (ABVs) continue to expand. Rigorously proven vector control interventions that measure protective efficacy against ABV diseases are limited to Wolbachia in a single trial in Indonesia and do not include any chemical intervention. Spatial repellents, a new option for efficient deployment, are designed to decrease human exposure to ABVs by releasing active ingredients into the air that disrupt mosquito-human contact. A parallel, cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted in Iquitos, Peru, to quantify the impact of a transfluthrin-based spatial repellent on human ABV infection. From 2,907 households across 26 clusters (13 per arm), 1,578 participants were assessed for seroconversion (primary endpoint) by survival analysis. Incidence of acute disease was calculated among 16,683 participants (secondary endpoint). Adult mosquito collections were conducted to compare Ae. aegypti abundance, blood-fed rate, and parity status through mixed-effect difference-in-difference analyses. The spatial repellent significantly reduced ABV infection by 34.1% (one-sided 95% CI lower limit, 6.9%; one-sided P value = 0.0236, z = 1.98). Aedes aegypti abundance and blood-fed rates were significantly reduced by 28.6 (95% CI 24.1%, ∞); z = -9.11) and 12.4% (95% CI 4.2%, ∞); z = -2.43), respectively. Our trial provides conclusive statistical evidence from an appropriately powered, preplanned cluster-randomized controlled clinical trial of the impact of a chemical intervention, in this case a spatial repellent, to reduce the risk of ABV transmission compared to a placebo.